Tivo HD video freezes - but only on HD

Discussion in 'TiVo Series3 HDTV DVRs' started by JOL, Sep 27, 2011.

  1. JOL

    JOL New Member

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    Nov 21, 2007

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    I've got the Tivo HD (not the Premiere), and in the last few weeks, I've started noticing that video on one of the tuners will freeze. However, I notice that this only happens when:

    (1) I am recording 2 shows (or recording on one tuner and watching live on the other), and

    (2) when both tuners are displaying in HD.

    For example, on Sunday, I was recording two NFL games, both on HD. One game recorded fine, but the other game recorded the first 30 minutes and then completely froze. Last night, I was recording How I Met Your Mother and Monday Night Football (both in HD), and the MNF recording froze. When I stopped the MNF recording and watched the game on SD, I did not have the freezing problem. Also, if I am watching 2 shows on HD and pause one tuner to watch the other, the paused tuner will sometimes not come out of pause.

    I initially thought that I was running out of space on my hard drive and deleted a number of shows that I had already watched and had not deleted. However, I continue to have this problem. I do not know if this is a hard drive failure problem or if there is something wrong with the Cablecard itself.

    I'm not sure if anyone else has experienced this issue, so if anyone has any suggestions of the possible problem and solution, I'd greatly appreciate it.

    FYI - I have Cox cable and use their multi-stream cablecard.
     
  2. WhiskeyTango

    WhiskeyTango New Member

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    I dealt with basically the same problem this summer and the drive had to be replaced. You might want to run the KS-54 as an initial step.
     
  3. dwit

    dwit Active Member

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    1. Check for temperature(heat) issues in "Settings>System Info". Make sure fan is spinning.

    2. Check for signal strength issues(diagnostics).

    3. Suspect hard drive.

    External drive involved?
     
  4. JOL

    JOL New Member

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    Nov 21, 2007
    Yes - I am sorry that I failed to mention this. I also have the external Tivo HD (by Western Digital, I think?). I do remember reading reviews in the past regarding the high failure rate on these external drives.

    I've skimmed through some of the instructions on how to replace your Tivo hard drive, and my understanding is that this involves connecting the hard drive to an open SATA port on your computer. If I only own a laptop, am I still able to perform the upgrade? Would I be able to just purchase a SATA to USB adaptor (about $20 on Newegg)?

    Also, the FAQ states that the largest HD I can put in the TivoHD is 1TB. However, DVRUpgrade sells a 2TB upgrade. Is that 1TB internal and 1 TB external?
     
  5. dlfl

    dlfl Cranky old novice

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    Dayton OH

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    The most likely cause is the external drive. KS54 may detect it but the sure fire way to tell is divorce it, BUT you will probably lose all your recordings if you do that because TiVo stripes them onto both drives.

    Not only can you buy a plug-n-play 2 TB (internal) drive but you can get it for a lot less than you mentioned, just Google "ebay dvr_dude". Many satisfied customers on this forum.

    The earlier suggestions to check the fan, etc. are worthwhile but you most likely will end up wanting to scrap both your current drives and upgrade to 2TB internal. The internal drive might be worth putting on the shelf if it's good.
     
  6. JOL

    JOL New Member

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    Nov 21, 2007
    Thanks for the suggestion. Going the dvr_dude route may be the way to go, given that a 2TB upgrade will run between $140 and $170, depending on whether or not I purchase the AV-GP hard drive, which is supposed to be optimized for DVR's. A blank AV-GP hard drive runs costs $95 on Amazon, and dvr_dude charges $170 for a pre-formatted drive. Seems worth it as it would save me the time of having to format the hard drive, which would require me buying a SATA to USB adapter.

    Anyone know whether the AV-GP drives are worth it?
     
  7. dwit

    dwit Active Member

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    Atlanta, GA
    Haven't really seen any evidence that they are. Just another time/convenience saving step.

    In fact, all the evidence points to making no difference in the Tivo(allowing for the above). Although if you are considering doing the upgrade yourself, and you cannot directly access an SATA port on a motherboard, you might want to avoid the WD green drives and go with the Hitachi.

    Looks like it's about 50/50 that the WD drive will need the idle timer disabled, which needs an sata port. No usb.
     
  8. JOL

    JOL New Member

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    Nov 21, 2007
    I have no idea what you just said re: idle timer :). With that being said, it sounds like I am better off just buying a unit from dvr_dude, as I do not have any experience upgrading my TiVo hard drive, plus I only own a laptop and do not have a motherboard with an eSata port.

    My post (to which you responded) was simply this: dvr_dude sells 2 types of pre-formatted hard drives that are plug-and-play: a 2TB Western Digital GP drive for $140, or a 2TB Western Digital AV-GP drive for $170. The AV-GP drives are supposed to be made especially for DVR units, and I wanted to know if anyone has any experience with these types of drives or if they know whether they are worth the extra money. Per dvr_dude's ebay listing, the AV-GP drives are supposed to perform better (they are listed on a bar graph as a 10 rating whereas the GP drive got an 8 rating), but I don't know if this just a marketing ploy.
     
  9. steve614

    steve614 what ru lookin at?

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    I vote not worth the extra $30. The performance difference may be measurable, but you won't perceive any difference (IMO).
     
  10. JOL

    JOL New Member

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    Nov 21, 2007
    My gut feeling is to agree with you, Steve614, particularly since both drives have the same warranty. Some people might say "it's only $30," but I'd still prefer to not spend money on an unnecessary feature (if it truly is unnecessary).
     
  11. dwit

    dwit Active Member

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    Atlanta, GA
    Personally, I have a difficulty answering that, being biased from the viewpoint of being able to do the work myself.

    My opinion is that for the Tivo, it is essentially a "marketing ploy". But there are a lot of qualifications involved in that judgement. Historically, as far as the Tivo is concerned, the only feature of the "AV" drive that really mattered was the low noise level. But again, historically, the non-av drives could be adjusted to be virtually as silent. Don't know if this is still the case. There may be some evidence that the acoustics can no longer be adjusted in the non-av drives. If the non-av drives can be adjusted, does "dude" do so? Some have been unable to adjust their non-av drives, but they were very quiet anyway.

    So I guess it's a matter of "peace of mind" that with the AV drive, you know you have the quieter(more quiet?) of the choices, for a $30 premium.

    But again, I have a hard time weighing all of that against doing it myself for $65 - $70, and knowing there was a chance of making any adjustments required.
     
  12. JOL

    JOL New Member

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    Nov 21, 2007
    Thank you so much for your input!

    If noise level is the primary concern, per dude's own ebay listing, the noise level on the AV and non-AV drives are the same: [media]http://www.dvrstore.com/ebay/listings/images/tivoharddrive/hd%20chart.jpg[/media]

    The only difference is the "performance," although I'm not really sure how that is quantified.

    Based on what you've all contributed, I think that I'll just go with the non-AV drive.
     
  13. dlfl

    dlfl Cranky old novice

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    I think the only significant difference is the noise level and the consensus I've seen in posts on this forum is it will only possibly make a noticeable difference if you have the TiVo in a bedroom.
     
  14. madneon

    madneon Member

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    I bought http://www.amazon.com/Thermaltake-Drives-Docking-Station-ST0014U/dp/B002MUYOLW/ref=pd_cp_e_pw_1 and downloaded the tivo copying program plopped in my tivo drive and a larger empty drive hooked it up to my laptop and it did the rest of the work..
     
  15. pdxdave

    pdxdave New Member

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    Jul 17, 2009
    The OP sounds an awful lot like the issues I've been having with my THD....
    I'll be watching this thread. :)
     
  16. JOL

    JOL New Member

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    Nov 21, 2007
    Here's a brief update:

    (1) I checked the system info and fan - the temperature is reading as normal and the fan is spinning.

    (2) I ran the KS-54 test and both hard drives are not returning any errors.

    My last two options (prior to replacing the hard drive) is to (a) unplug the external HD (and lose all of my recordings) or (b) to replace the cablecard. If neither fix the issue, I may just have to replace my hard drive completely.
     
  17. unitron

    unitron Well-Known Member

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    It occured to me that if recording HD requires greater CPU use, that might put power draw above the level a power supply in the early stages of failing could deliver.
     
  18. expmag

    expmag RehobothJeff

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    Dec 12, 2004
    Rehoboth...
    consider moving your programs to your pc using Tivo2Go software so you can at least watch them there and not loose them.
     
  19. V7Goose

    V7Goose OTA ONLY and Loving It!

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    If you have an external drive, you should always suspect the eSATA cable connection. The eSATA design is crap, many of the cables have improperly made ends, and the very stiff cable itself usually pushes the connection off-center. It is very common for TiVos with external drives to work fine for months or years, then start having these sorts of problems for no apparent reason. This is ESPECIALLY true if you have recently moved any of the equipment, or even just dusted around it. Often just reseating the cable will completely solve your problem - I speak from personal experience, not just repeating what I have read.

    Start by shutting everything down. Now unplug/replug both ends of the eSATA cable several times to clean the contacts. Finish by making sure the cable is coiled or arranged in such a way that there is NO sideways push on the cable ends from the stiff wire.

    When you are done resetting the cable ends and repositioning the equipment, run Kickstart 57 on reboot, then reboot again with Kickstart 58. I suggest these to let TiVo try and find/repair any problems with programs in the database already caused by the issues you are seeing. Good luck.

    If you run into similar problems again after finishing this whole process, then I do suggest you simply upgrade the internal drive - it is extremely easy to do and completely removes any question of problems from either of your current drives or the eSATA connection.
     
  20. JOL

    JOL New Member

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    Nov 21, 2007
    Thank you for the suggestions! On Saturday, I divorced the external HD from the TiVo, and the Tivo now appears to work great (with the exception of the limited recording space). However, I will try fiddling with the eSata connection and running kickstart 57 and 58 to see if the issues with the external drive can be addressed. In the meantime, I am just glad that the tivo is running well again! I'll also look into upgrading the hard drive in the next few months once some other major expenses are taken care of.
     

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